The original purpose was an offering to ward off possible haunting by the spirit of the person who was executed. This tradition has continued into modern times.
Likewise, most people are misinformed about how last meal requests work. But did he really get all that he asked for, and is it really surprising that a man who knows he will die in a few hours might lose his appetite? The truth about last meals in Texas is more complicated than the list of food that a condemned prisoner requests. According to Brian D. Thus, the last meal that Brewer received did not contain all of the items he requested, and what was provided was in smaller portions.
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Price gave an example of the type of substitutions he made when preparing last meals by describing what he did if a prisoner asked for lobster, an item not available in the kitchen food inventory. I tried to do the best I could with what I had.
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When he heard about the elimination of last meals for death row prisoners, he offered to deliver them to the prison for free. The TDCJ declined his offer. Not to minimize these crimes, the majority of [death row prisoners] have earned their place at that dinner table. But with my offer it would not cost Texas taxpayers anything.
James Edward Smith had worked as tarot card reader, as a self-described voodoo priest, and as a taxi driver before he robbed and killed an insurance agency executive in Texas. Smith was sentenced to death, and in the days before his execution, he asked for a final meal of rhaeakunda dirt, a kind of soil used in voodoo rituals.
This Death Row Inmate's Request Caused 1 State to Abolish the Last Meal Tradition For Good
He believed that if he consumed the dirt, his spirit would be free to transition to the afterlife, instead of lingering around to haunt the shit out of prison officials. His request was denied by the Texas Department of Corrections, but six hours before he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection, he was granted a stay of execution.
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His body was found Sunday, June 7, A Democratic state senator from Houston is demanding a change to the Texas prison system's execution-day procedures, arguing that allowing a spokesman to read aloud a condemned killer's written statement after his or her death is "disrespectful" to victims' families.
Prompted by last week's execution of white supremacist John King - one of the men sentenced to die for the notorious hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. John Whitmire on Monday called on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to stop allowing prisoners to leave behind written statements after they are put to death. Traditionally, death row prisoners are permitted to say their last words in a microphone inside the death chamber, and also provide a written statement that a department spokesman may read aloud to the media at a press conference afterward.
Whitmire isn't seeking to ban final utterances, but instead demanding an end to written last statements. Prison officials declined to comment - but King's attorney, Richard Ellis, pushed back on the idea of retooling the current procedure.
Texas Prisons End Special Last Meals for Inmates After 'Ridiculous' Request
Whitmire's letter marks the second time the Houston lawmaker has demanded a policy change following the execution of one of Byrd's killers; 8 years ago, the senator urged the prison system to end the practice of allowing condemned prisoners to order last meals after Lawrence Brewer put in a massive final request and ate none of it. Likewise, on the gurney Wednesday, King had nothing to say and showed no remorse.
But what irked Whitmire was the "flippant" final statement the year-old left behind in writing: "Capital punishment: Them without the capital get the punishment.